Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa Member of Parliament for North Tongu on the ticket of the leading opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has petitioned the World Bank to investigate what he considers irregularities in US 48 million Ascend Scandal.
The MP wrote this on his Facebook wall “Yesterday, I successfully petitioned the World Bank & World Bank Ghana Office to launch investigations into the litany of irregularities, misrepresentation, insider dealing & conflict of interest relating to the US$48million Ascend Scandal and how that was used to fraudulently secure a US$49.5million World Bank funded eTransform project which was also awarded to Ascend under an AirtelTigo/Ascend JV.”
Read the details below:
prior to this Hon. Ablakwa questioned the communication minister Ursula Owusu on the irregularities.
Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has feigned ignorance about the scandalous US$48million rural telephony project being executed by Ascend Digital Solutions owned by the Nigerian cabal who have grabbed virtually all juicy contracts in her sector under exceedingly opaque circumstances.
GIFEC has also hurriedly put out a bizarre statement claiming that their Administrator does not recall providing a proof of contract attestation after I released his own signed document.
I can understand Ursula’s multiple difficulties:
1) The Ascend project did not receive PPA approval as confirmed by the PPA’s response to my RTI request;
2) The Commercial Agreement for the US$155million rural telephony project as approved by Parliament on the 31st of March 2020 can only be executed by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC). If any other entity outside these two companies takes over the project, it would amount to a variation of what has been approved by Parliament and therefore a prior parliamentary amendment to the original commercial agreement should have been secured which as we all know was not done. This principle has well been established since the Quality Grain case and the CDB parliamentary approvals;
3) Ursula would rather prefer Ghanaians and the World Bank do not discover how her Ministry colluded with Ascend Digital Solutions to secure another US$50million World Bank sponsored contract under the eTransform project and how Ascend was presented to the World Bank as having done a great job in executing the controversial US$48million rural telephony project.
Bid documents, insider memos and various contracts in my possession reveal that the Ministry of Communications and its agencies: GIFEC and NITA confirmed to the World Bank that they had an existing contract with Ascend Digital Solutions. (See attached extracts from the AirtelTigo/Ascend JV Bid Documents).
If the current claims by Ursula and other government apologists that they have no contract with Ascend is to be believed, then the matter gets worse — it would mean that the new US$50million World Bank funded eTransform contract awarded by the Ministry of Communications to the AirtelTigo/Ascend JV was fraudulently secured because they engaged in misrepresentation and further misled the World Bank when they swore that they had a contract with Ascend during the procurement process.
The World Bank has already warned of dire consequences at page 10 of the eTransform contract when parties fail to observe the highest standard of ethics during the procurement process, selection and contract execution.
I intend to formally bring these sordid findings in addition to numerous other grave violations I have discovered to the attention of the World Bank in the next few days.
I am now compelled to share with the general public quite a lot of documents on this matter; kindly pardon me, it’s absolutely important, in the spirit of transparency, truth and accountability that I make them available so you can all make your own informed judgements.
For God and Country.
Ghana First 🇬🇭